“…for those inside can’t get out and those outside don’t want to get in.”
– Arthur Brisbane
I have to admit that I am really getting into this whole grave-tending spiel. I can really say clearly that I feel comfortable and happy to go. I get this antsy feeling in the center of my stomach, akin to the butterflies everyone is aware of, because I just want to get there NOW and do my thing. I remember, not long ago, The Sister mentioned that she felt my grave-tending was a kind of centering and/or grounding ritual for myself. And I think that she maybe right about that. I feel connected. I feel pleasant. I feel more in tune with things. And I feel pretty damn thrilled that I did this whole thing.
Even though I figured that a grave-tending kit would get me out of the house faster, I can definitely attest that, sadly, that didn’t end up happening this time around. I found myself dithering around the house, trying to see if there was anything I felt like I was missing or anything that I felt I should add to my kit, if anything. For the most part, the kit is finished. However, obviously, there are little tweaks and whatnot that I will end up doing as time passes. A significant positive aspect to the basket is that it is also incredibly useful to stash important items (wallet or phone) while doing my business.
When I was a kid, we used to drive past this cemetery all of the time. It’s on an exceedingly busy thoroughfare. I can remember driving by it all the time and thinking how much I wanted to go in there. (It’s amazing how much of my current choices can be reflected in things that I wanted very badly as a child, such as visiting random cemeteries even back then.) I also remember that I have never seen anyone inside that cemetery. Obviously, I didn’t keep an eye on it at every minute of every day. It’s exceedingly possible that people stopped by and took care of things, but I remember thinking that the cemetery was lonely, sad, angry, and upset that it had been forgotten. And in reality, it has been forgotten.
Though it lives on a very busy road, it is forgotten between the mini-strip mall, the pediatrician across the way, and the fast food restaurants a ways down the road. It is forgotten because it faces bramble at the back of the property. It is forgotten because the fence is imposing and dark. It is imposing because it leaves a pall around the area, even in the summer time in the middle of the day with the sun pouring bright down around you. It is forgotten because no one thought that a place where we store the Deadz would need to be remembered. The feeling in this cemetery says otherwise. This is what will one day be one of those busy, hot spots that kids go to in order to frighten one another. Or, perhaps, they will listen to their gut instinct and realize that if they go inside so late at night, only bad can come of it.
I really don’t want to sound so very dire about this place, but honestly, it was just… an indescribable mutation of so many emotions in there. I felt sadness and depression; bitterness; hatred; anger and malice. The overwhelming feeling, though, of the entire cemetery was a just a very negative pall that I tried very hard with my kind words, my camera flashes, and my offerings to put to rest. I don’t think it matters how often I go; I doubt I will ever be able to rid this place of its miasma of dark and foreboding feelings.
I was very upset at the lack of care I found when I first arrived. There was trash bits all over the place. I’m going to have to go back and just do a serious clear there. I know it will be next to useless since it’s so close to a Wendy’s and a McDonald’s, but I have to at least try. Something to show the Deadz that they have not been forgotten.
I think of all of the tombstones that I found, the worst was the one I have pictured in this paragraph. It was like this was the absolute and utter quintessence tombstone of the entire graveyard. The moment I saw it lying there, I knew that this was the personification of how all of the Deadz felt in that graveyard. While people are willing to love and tend the larger graveyards and the graveyards that are found in the outlying towns, but no one will bother to take care of this place. Looking down at it and seeing how cracked and broken it was, watching as the earth slowly devoured more and more every year… It was like the Deadz there are just merely waiting for that magical moment when the tallest monument has fallen and has been swallowed up by the earth.
I gave my oranges to whom I felt were the Bawon and the Maman of the graveyard. I know that I’m supposed to leave it for the oldest graves in the yard, but considering all of the weathering going on… it would have been impossible to find out who was dead the longest. I also, surreptitiously, poured out my rum offering on those graves. I think I may have heard the Bawon say, “SHARING?!? WHAT?!?” Just in case I wasn’t imagining things, I was quick to say, “She’s your wife. The least you can do is give her some rum.” As it was, he got most of the bottle and the larger portion of the orange. I left my bread crumbs back near the trees for the birds to pick up.
All in all, this cemetery is the first that I have tended that has felt this way. I don’t tend to get too many feelings from graveyards. The only ones I usually get are the ones that I, myself, feel. In this graveyard, however, it was such a thick miasma that even the most spirit blind (such as myself) would be able to feel it. This cemetery, I feel, will become one of my more regular cemeteries, as in a weekly assignation as opposed to monthly. I can only hope that the good, positive feelings that I emote to the Deadz there is enough to make them see that I am there, I am there to help, and that I am there to redeem the zillions of other fucking assholes who have forgotten about that cemetery.
And once again, I’m left with the knowledge that if grave-tending is as important in my [future] practice as I think it is, I really will have to find a job that allows for an hour/hour-and-a-half long break.
:) yay you! I’m sure your work is noticed and as time goes by you will feel a difference. :)
I hope so!
Is this one in the worst condition of any you’ve visited?
Yes. So far, this one was the worst.
It is a beautiful thing that you’re doing. It is appreciated, and I know you’re making a difference there!
Thank you for your work…
My mom posted a link to a website for geneaology FOR the cemetery I went to. I plan on going through my pictures and seeing how well images came out to post up for family members who are looking. The ones that are crap (a lot because of light and how bad shape the place was in) will be cleaned and retaken. :)
YAY! XD I’m glad she found that. Someday there could be healing for these dead!
I’m seriously about to cry because this place reminds me so much of the horrible desecrated broken cemetery where my paternal grandmother is buried. It got basically torn in half to make room for a highway going to the airport and every time I had to pass by it to catch a flight I would feel this overwhelming horrible sadness and anger and just…that land is dead. It is a gnawing void and I feel ashamed that the city let it happen. My grandmother died long before I was born, under really shitty circumstances, and I know she was probably frustrated and in a lot of pain, but without her I would never have been born. It makes me so angry that I’ll probably never be able to find her grave and let her know that I love her and I’m grateful to her.
Ugh sorry for the emotional ramble comment but I just want to say, Aubs, you are a hero. I’m so glad that you’re doing this work and helping to heal these places.
Ramble all you want. ;) I don’t mind.
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